We hit the south coast of NSW at Batemans Bay, after our tour of Canberra and the Capital Country. Batemans Bay is within the Eurobodalla Shire, which also includes Bodalla, Narooma and the Tilba region. Our favourite moments here were tasting the local cheeses and driving through the lush, green dairy country.
By the time we entered the Bega Valley and Sapphire Coast region, the weather was beginning to turn. We managed to get to Eden in time for a delicious fish and chip lunch before it started to rain.
This fishing town is the closest seaside town to Canberra, making it a popular holiday spot for inhabitants of the ACT. It’s relaxed lifestyle and affordable housing also attracts retirees and young families.
We stopped briefly at Observation Head Lookout to stretch our legs. We found a trail from the car park that lead to the tip of the headland for views of Snapper Island.
Our number one stop in Bodalla was the Bodalla Dairy Shed. Here we did some cheese tasting in the retro milk bar style cafe and fell in love with their delicious sage and saltbush cheese. We bought a wheel before going around the back to say hello to some adorable calves, alpacas and goats.
Narooma is an aboriginal word that means clear blue waters, and while we are sure that the water is blue on a beautiful sunny day, we had some ominous clouds coming in from the east so the water was a little blueish grey.
We still had a look around this popular fishing destination by visiting Bar Rock Lookout, which overlooks the entrance to Wagonga Inlet.
The Tilba Region
You can tell just by driving through the area that it’s dairy country. The grass is a vivid green and there are fat cows everywhere. We stopped at Central Tilba, a cute little heritage town that’s under the National Trust, and went to the markets to check out their arts and crafts and local produce.
We also visited the ABC Cheese Factory and sampled some local cheese, honey and conserves before browsing through their gift shop.
Further down the coast in Bermagui is Camel Rock, a formation named by Bass and Flinders during the early days when Australia was still being drawn on the map. These days, it’s a popular surf beach that’s patrolled in the summer months, and is also great for snorkelling and fishing. If you enjoy a good walk, there is a track that leads from the car park to Murunna Point, a place that overlooks where Wallaga Lake opens to the sea.
Bega is the rural centre of the Sapphire Coast and the gateway to the lush Bega Valley. This historic town has a proud tradition of cheese making, so it would be silly of us to bypass the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre. While the cheese tasting was a little disappointing (we don’t want to sample processed cheese!), the museum upstairs was interesting and had a creepy bovine centipede.
Also known as the Jewel of the Sapphire Coast, Merimbula is a great place for a holiday, which is why it holds a special place in Juz’s memory. She and her family used to spend new year’s holidays on the Sapphire Coast, and a visit to Merimbula was always a treat. It was the place where she first ate crocodile meat, and going to Top Fun at the top of the main street was the height of entertainment back then.
Driving through Merimbula was not only a trip down memory lane but also delivered some sad nostalgia, because Juz remembers Merimbula to be so much brighter, busier and vibrant. When we drove through, it was winter and about to rain so everything looked a little drab and worn down. Still, we stopped by the shores of Merimbula Lake to take a few pictures.
Eden is an historic whaling town built on a headland that juts into Twofold Bay. This is another place that Juz thinks fondly of, particularly because of the fish and chip shop located at the wharf. These days, it’s known as Hooked on Seafood, and they truly know how to make a decent battered fish… or anything for that matter! We got stuck into some pieces of fish, a battered sausage and a few potato cakes with chips!